Tag Archives: iPaded

Transforming Project Based Learning with iPad

The next session I’m attending is “Transforming Project Based Learning with iPad” by Ah-Young Song from Phillips Exeter Academy. Ah-Young tells us that she will be discussing some of the PBL projects she has implemented in her own classroom. She will be covering communication tools, gamification, audio/video tools, and media resources.

Ah-Young has just become teaching at Phillips Exeter, which is a harkness school. Harkness is a form of teaching that engages students collaboratively.

“Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge.” – Buck Institute for Education.

Ah-Young believes that even without institutional support we can, as teachers,

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

advocate for our own students and innovate in our classrooms. Some examples of PBL projects include:

  • track migratory species
  • beautify space with a public art project
  • meet with local officials to address local concerns
  • create a tech start-up budget
  • analyze and project sports statistics

There are numerous resources out there for PBL lessons. in the process of building a project based lesson, students develop a variety of skills, including:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Content
  • Resilience
  • Resourcefulness
  • Analysis
  • Reflection

There are numerous tools that educators can use with their students as they develop their PBL. One of her favorites is Blogger, which students can use to post text, video, images, etc. By posting a blog, students can publish small writings and engage in collaborative feedback. She does this through a Google+ community.

AScreen Shot 2014-11-13 at 2.34.33 PMdditionally, she likes to have students backchannel book discussions using Today’s Meet or SMS Generators to engage with a fictional character! She uses Google Sheets as a rubric for certain activities, such as a jury trial of Lady MacBeth. The jurors created the rubric for the trial and used it to assess the verdict.

She also uses Google Docs to create a paperless environment. She distributes content with Google Drive, grades on Google Drive, and returns content this way. However, Exeter is not a Google Apps for Education school. However, the students have their own accounts so it works.

If you want to gamify your classroom, there are several fun tools you can play with. You can run a Space Race using Socrative.

Socrative introduction video (new) from Socrative Inc. on Vimeo.

I’m a fan of Socrative. You should also check out Poll Everywhere and Kahoot!.

Another tool she shares is Qrafter, which lets you read and generate QR Codes (paid version). You can use this to create a scavenger hunt. Voice Record Pro 7 is a robust audio recording tool that will let you record audio and share with others. You can use it to teach language assessments, read poetry, or for students to engage in alternative assessments. Adobe Voice will let you build an audio slideshow. Canva is another really cool tool that will let you build posters and infographics.

She is going to have students produce vignettes using a tool like Canva or Penultimate to explain their learning.

Screencasting tools like Doceri or Explain Everything can help students to explain their learning.

Advanced iPad Classroom

Today is the pre-conference workshop for the iPad Summit here in beautiful San Diego. I had the privilege of working with the esteemed Shawn McCusker. Working with advanced teachers, we were able to play with advanced creative techniques and really get to the heart of building creative and innovative lessons.

If you would like to see the agenda for the day, you can do so by clicking here. Because our classroom of teachers really wanted to delve deeply into the material at hand, we could only touch on a few of the topics we had planned to tackle.

Keeping with the EdTechTeacher model of hands on exploration and learning (see my article “Challenge Based, One-Screen, & T-21: The EdTechTeacher Approach to iPad PD“). This means that there is very little direct instruction – instead, the focus is on allowing teachers to explore, experiment, and create. It’s effective in helping teachers to experience the process the same way our students’ do: figuring things out as they go along. In fact, I have brought many of these same concepts into my own classroom.


One Screen Model

A key concept that we employed is that it’s about using a handful of apps to do a variety of projects effectively and creatively. This is the “One Screen Model” (see “All the Good Apps Fit on One Screen“). It’s easy for teachers to feel quickly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of apps out there. This is why EdTechTeacher curates a handful of apps to help you accomplish your lesson objects, see their incredibly helpful post “iPad As;” it will help you to navigate the App store with an eye to utility.

The central tenet of using iPads is App Fluency: “The ultimate goal of fluency challenges is to be able to move information from app to app and from device

App Fluency, courtesy of Shawn McCusker

App Fluency, courtesy of Shawn McCusker

to device in order to process it and share it efficiently and effectively (Shawn).” This means that to effectively navigate the iPad, you must understand how to pull content into an app and what you can push out. For example, pulling images or videos into iMovie from the camera roll or Google Drive, editing them into a composed single piece, and then publishing it via YouTube or Google Drive. Shawn expressed his opinion that any app on the iPad that cannot work with other tools (is an isolated program) is ultimately useless.

App fluency allows you to create more complex and advanced projects via a process known as “App Smashing” – “Using two or more applications or web tools in conjunction with one another to create a final product or experience that would not be possible with using a single tool (Shawn)”. By collecting content from a variety of sources and then manipulating them in multiple ways incorporates higher level learning and skills. Check out “App Smashing with iOS 7.” You can also check out this great example below:

As workflow was a common topic throughout the session, we decided to switch up in the end to discuss some ways to facilitate collecting and curating student material. One of the most popular tools for getting content off of iPads and shared with the teacher is Google Drive; many schools have become Google Apps for Education institutions making this much easier. One of the best tools available to teachers working in a GAFE environment is the script Doctopus. This tool enables teachers to distribute content effectively and collect it easily without having to worry about all of the snafu’s that happen with sharing (typos in email addresses, titles, etc). If you would like to see a run through, check the video below:

Overall, it was an exciting and innovative day with high enthusiasm, excitement, and energy. I can’t wait to continue the moment tomorrow with the rest of the iPad Summit!

Redefining the Writing Process

The last session I am attending is “Redefining the Writing Process” with Beth Holland and Samantha Morra. Beth highlights the idea we all have about writing – that it’s about paper and keyboarding. Beth wrote a great article about this at Edudemic, “5 Myths About Writing with Mobile Devices.”

Now that we’re in a 2.0 world, writing has become a Digital Process. We can use tools like Google Drive to provide simultaneous feedback or even use audio comments instead of written ones. I wrote about leaving Voice Comments in Google Docs.

hero_penultimateBeth highlights the fact that we now live in a world in which writing is becoming mobile. Not just in the sense that we can pick up and go with our material, but that we can use multiple tools to scaffold and create our pre-writing projects. Not just the output, but the input! For those that need to hand-write for thought and comprehension, you can use apps like Penultimate that allow you to incorporate it into other applications (like Evernote). In addition to written notes, you can also use voice tools like Siri to help you think about and reflect on your content. Using multiple modalities allows you to explore the writing process in multiple ways.

Sam is now speaking about the tool “Speak Selection” that can be helpful for students with learning differences. Students that are speaking back and forth with the iPad, including punctuation, involve greater interactivity with the writing process. Students have to slow down and think about various elements of writing that are normally silent. Ultimately, writing is about communication!

Another great way to use the iPad in the writing process is to MindMap. The iPad construction facilitates mind-mapping in a kinesthetic way. Students can map  out their writing visually, using gestures, incorporating various media, etc.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Effective writing is also collaborative. There are many tools that you can use to make writing more collaborative, the most popular is Google Drive but there are many others (I also love Evernote for this purpose). It allows users to peer edit, see revisions, make comments, and more. There are many more ways you can provide feedback. For example, you can provide feedback via screencasting (using tools like ScreenChomp or Explain Everything).

Apple has begun to ship all new iOS devices (including iPads) with Pages. Using the technique of App Smashing (thanks Greg Kulowiecek and the great write-up by Beth on “Unleashing Creativity: App Smashing“). Beth highlights that we need to get beyond the 8.5 x 11 mindset (as stated by Shawn McCusker). Yes, the five paragraph essay has its place but writing has become so much more than that. Sam highlights that these tools can also help us to assess our students’ work – turning on speech to text, for example, can help us to explore a student’s piece in a different way.

In addition to a traditional writing project, we can use lesson plans such as digital storytelling to demonstrate mastery. I did this recently with my students, having them make documentaries about US History. Incorporating imagery and sound makes the process more involved and allows students to demonstrate multiple intelligences.

Writing does not need to be a solitary experience. It can be collaborative (just like presenting, right ladies?). With tools like Book Builder and the internet, students can collaborate with people outside of their classroom and even in another country! By creating visual elements, there is a digital literacy component. This includes exploring copyright and faire use. So, Beth asks, these are videos and little to no text – is this a “writing assignment”? Beth then asks, what about this as a poetry unit?

Not only does it explore the traditional elements of poetry (structure, meter, etc), but incorporates multiple dimensions to further explore the topic. Beth says that the iPad with its multiple modalities and mobile elements allows for students and teachers to greater explore their work and the products of others.